OSHKOSH -- Rita Marie (McKillip) Phares, 91, of Oshkosh and former long-time Palisade resident, died early Thursday morning, Jan. 7, 2010, at the Garden County Nursing Home in Oshkosh.
Rita Marie McKillip was born in Hot Springs, Ark., on July 31, 1918 to Daniel P. and Frances J. (Zimmer) McKillip. She graduated from the eighth grade in rural Hayes County and then attended McCook High School, graduating in 1934. In 1936, she graduated from McCook Junior College. She taught in a rural Hayes County School from 1936-1938. From 1938-1942, she did secretarial work with the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Hayes Center, Neb., and again worked for the USDA from 1960-1973 and was in charge of special programs.
Rita married Philip Phares of Palisade at the St. Ann Catholic Church in Frontier County on June 18, 1942. To this union four children were born. Rita and Phil spent all their married life on the irrigated farm four miles east of Palisade until moving to Ogallala in 2003. Rita played the organ at Holy Family Catholic Church in Palisade for 50 years before retiring, and loved playing the piano and organ for family and friends. She also loved raising flowers, especially her beautiful iris, and was an excellent cook, frequently making her family favorite Nesselrode pie.
Rita was preceded in death by her parents and by sisters Ruth McKillip and Mary Ann (McKillip) Chambers.
Survivors include her husband Phil of Oshkosh; two daughters, Carol Kraus and husband, Lou of Brule and Barbara Malicky and husband, Larry of Columbus; two sons, Richard Phares and wife, Melanie of Longmont, Colo., Alan Phares of Columbus; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren, and brother-in-law Donald Chambers of Lawrence, Kan.
A rosary will be held at 10 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. (MST), both services on Friday at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala with Father Bryan Ernest officiating. Inurnment will follow at 3:30 p.m. (CST) at the Palisade Cemetery.
Cremation was held and there will be no visitation at the funeral home.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the McCook Community College Foundation or the Palisade Community Foundation in Rita's name.
Family and friends may sign the guest book and leave condolences online at www.holechekfuneralhomes.com.
Holechek Funeral Home & Cremations in Oshkosh is serving the Phares family.